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Inspectors and police officers implement their tasks, vulnerable groups require society’s attention

Deana Potza from the Health Inspectorate, Tomaž Pečjak, Deputy Director General of the Police, psychologist Barbara Čibej Žagar and Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin attended the press conference on the current situation regarding the COVID-19 epidemic.

Initially, Deana Potza presented the weekly report of the Health Inspectorate for the period from 19 to 25 October. The total number of conducted supervisions of government ordinances issued in connection with the management of COVID-19 amounted to 1,420; 141 minor offence sanctions in the total value of EUR 68,400 were imposed, of which EUR 16,800 was in the field of hospitality and commercial activities, EUR 8,800 related to the organisation of events, EUR 6,000 related to non-compliance with served decisions pertaining to ordered quarantine, and the largest amount, i.e. EUR 36,800, related to outdoor areas.

In cooperation with the Police, the Health Inspectorate implements supervision regarding the temporary restriction of movement between 21:00 and 6:00. In the first week, 17 inspections were conducted at several locations and a total of 19 minor offence sanctions were issued.

The selection of supervisors to oversee the provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act expanded to another eight inspectorates and the Police when the Act Determining Interim Measures for Mitigation and Remedy the Consequences of the COVID-19 entered into force, i.e. in the following areas:

The Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection when implementing hospitality activities;

  • the Market Inspectorate when implementing commercial activities;
  • the Infrastructure Inspectorate regarding public passenger transport;
  • the Inspectorate for Education and Sport in educational institutions when implementing organised sports activities;
  • the Public Sector Inspectorate;
  • the Labour Inspectorate regarding the working environments provided by employers;
  • the Inspectorate for Agriculture, Forestry, Hunting and Fisheries when supervising the implementation of regulations in the relevant field;
  • the Chemical Office regarding the suitability, efficiency, market availability and use of sanitisers in indoor public places or multi-dwelling buildings where hand sanitation is mandatory, and
  • the Police regarding minor offences and imposing fines in the exercise of their original powers.

Referring to the mandatory use of protective face masks in outdoor areas, Potza quoted the relevant section of the Ordinance: "When walking in green spaces and during sports and recreational activities in which a distance of at least three metres can be maintained at all times irrespective of the provisions of other ordinances, individuals or persons living in the same household are not obliged to wear protective face masks." Green spaces are defined as "all areas that exhibit a particular level of naturalness, regardless of ownership, function or spatial location", from which it is understood that this definition does not include pavements and roads. Protective masks must thus be worn everywhere outdoors, except in green spaces and when exercising if a three-metre distance is observed at all times.

Since the start of the prohibition of movement between municipalities, police officers have conducted inspections at 4,342 locations regarding the implementation of the measure. Some inspections were made on the basis of 71 reports made by citizens concerning violations of the ordinance and a total of 288 violations were determined, reported Pečjak. The police issued 245 warnings and 118 payment orders and expedited procedures. In eight cases, the Health Inspectorate was informed about the violations as these were not within the jurisdiction of the police.

From the beginning of March 2020 until today, the police received more than 3,000 reports of violations. Police officers determined almost 10,000 violations of ordinances and consequently issued more than 6,500 warnings and more than 100 minor offence sanctions as per the Protection of Public Order Act and submitted almost 8,000 proposals to instigate procedures to the Health Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia.

While using the most lenient means and measures, the Police strive to obtain the legally pursued objective, at all times in accordance with the principle of proportionality. The Police are actively disseminating information via the media concerning the severity of the circumstances and encouraging compliance with the measures.

Psychologist Čibej Žagar highlighted that certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable in the current health crisis, i.e. small children who have not yet developed a comprehensive understanding of the situation, but are aware of the insecurity and distress of their parents and other adults. The vulnerable group also includes the elderly, especially if they live alone and have a poorly developed social network, and those individuals who have fewer options for effectively dealing with this stressful situation (the poor, the unemployed, foreigners, people with mental disabilities and others). As a society, we must pay extra attention to these people and support them, she emphasised.